News Roundup for October 7, 2019

October 7, 2019

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J Street in the News

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to headline J Street conference, JTA
“The two most powerful Democratic politicians in America, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will headline the annual conference of J Street, the liberal Israel lobby.”

Pelosi, Schumer, Van Hollen and Jayapal to Speak at J Street’s National Gala, J Street
“J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans, announced today that their 2019 National Gala Dinner will feature remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as a moderated discussion with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) on the future of the US-Israel relationship and American leadership in the Middle East.”

Top News and Analysis

Saudi Arabia and Iran Make Quiet Openings to Head Off War, New York Times
After years of growing hostility and competition for influence, Saudi Arabia and Iran have taken steps toward indirect talks to try to reduce the tensions that have brought the Middle East to the brink of war, according to officials from several countries involved in the efforts. Even the prospect of such talks represents a remarkable turnaround, coming only a few weeks after a coordinated attack on Saudi oil installations led to bellicose threats in the Persian Gulf. Any reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran could have far-reaching consequences for conflicts across the region.

Ocasio-Cortez accuses Trump of anti-Semitism over his attacks on Schiff, JTA
“Understand that Trump is engaged in deliberate, atrocious, targeted antisemitism towards Chairman Schiff. Then ask yourself why no one cares to denounce it – esp when his accusation of it towards others drove full news cycles earlier this year,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Saturday, with a retweet of an article in The Intercept suggesting that Trump’s attacks against Schiff come from the neo-Nazi playbook. “It’s wrong. It’s harmful. And his bigotry is reflective of the white supremacist base he relies on for political gain,” she also tweeted.

Israeli officials wrap up Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearing, AP
Israel’s state prosecutors and Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers were wrapping up the pre-indictment hearing over a slew of corruption allegations against the prime minister on Monday. Netanyahu’s lawyers arrived at the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem for the fourth and final day of the proceedings where they were meeting with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and his team to appeal that the cases against Netanyahu be dropped. Mandelblit has recommended that Netanyahu be indicted for fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases that have dogged the long-serving premier. The hearing is the final step before the attorney general decides whether to issue a formal indictment.


As Arab leaders slam police ‘neglect,’ officers report fear for their own safety, Times of Israel
With Arab Israeli political leaders and civic groups pushing for ever-larger protests and slamming government inaction on violence in their communities, senior officers and internal reports in the Israel Police offer a window into the predicament faced by officers on the ground in Arab towns.

Like a War Zone’: Five Israeli Arabs Recount Living in Fear Without Police Protection, Haaretz
They describe an intolerable reality, “like a war” amid rising violence in Israel’s Arab communities. They tell of their fear about going outside as a result of shootings, and of their moments of despair. But the wave of protests in the Arab community against what they say is the failure by the police to deal with the violence also represents a moment of hope from their standpoint.

PM condemns violence in Arab Israeli community, pledges resources to fight it, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the recent spate of violent crime in Arab Israeli communities on Sunday, pledging national resources and urging the minority to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to combat the phenomenon, in his first public comments since mass protests against the bloodshed and alleged police inaction began last week.

Over 100 Jewish scholars condemn Trump admin for exploiting anti-Semitism, +972 Mag
More than 100 Jewish academics sign open letter demanding the Trump administration stop exploiting anti-Semitism in order to quash criticism of Israel on college campuses.

Netanyahu said pushing NIS 1b air defense plan to counter Iran threats, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pushing to advance a huge air-defense project aimed at countering the threat of an attack from Iran, the Kan public broadcaster reported Sunday.

Jews Resolve Things in Court, Arabs Pull Out a Weapon, Israeli Minister Says, Haaretz
Responding to a wave of protest by Israeli Arabs over what they deem a lax police response to violent crime in the Arab community, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Monday it “is a very, very violent society” with “cultural norms” that promote violence.

Israel plans to revoke citizenship of BDS movement founder, The National
Israel’s Interior Minister said on Sunday that the country planned to revoke the citizenship of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement founder Omar Barghouti. “Tonight, I instructed the Population and Immigration Authority to prepare an opinion to cancel residency in Israel by Omar Barghouti, founder of the boycott movement on Israel,” Aryeh Deri said on Twitter.

Sara Netanyahu Fails to Appear Before Court in Labor Abuse Suit, Haaretz
Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, skipped on Monday a key hearing in a lawsuit filed against her by a former staffer who alleged abuse by Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Residence.

Opinion and Analysis

It’s Tempting to Connect the Dots, but Iran-Israel War Doesn’t Seem Imminent, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “There is increasing tension between Israel and Iran, but it’s been building up over time and isn’t necessarily related to the assassination attempt, which no one knows when or if it happened, and who might be behind it.”

Why Is Netanyahu Maintaining the Mandate?, The Jerusalem Post
Gil Hoffman writes, “While Netanyahu’s hesitancy to return the mandate can be understood, he is taking a big political gamble.”

The Roots of the Crime Wave in Arab Communities in Israel, Haaretz
Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu and Thabet Abu Rass write, “Arab citizens are being terrorized by criminals and life in Arab communities has become hellish. It wasn’t always that way, but 19 years ago, after the police gave a chilling demonstration of what it thinks of Arab citizens (reminder: It ended with 13 people dead), Arab society simply expelled them, physically and consciously. The police, for their part, cooperated, preferring to limit to a minimum their involvement with law and order in Arab towns. This under-policing created a terrible vacuum that became fertile ground for crime, which has risen and flourished. Today it’s clear that it’s a disaster.”